For Immediate Release

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Brenda Bowser Soder
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Posner Pick Praised by Leading Human Rights Organization

30-Year Career Marked by Principled Pragmatism, Consensus Building

WASHINGTON - Today, the Obama Administration announced the nomination of Human Rights First President Michael Posner to serve as the nation's next Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. This is cause for celebration. Elisa Massimino, Chief Executive Officer at Human Rights First, praised the choice and noted that Posner's ability to build consensus and successfully navigate tough challenges make him an ideal selection.

Massimino stated, "Mike has been at the forefront of the human rights movement for more than 30 years. He has a deep commitment to human rights and understands the real-world impact on peoples' lives when those rights are violated. Mike's keen intellect and breadth of experience in the trenches will make him a strong voice for human rights inside the Obama Administration."

"Throughout his career at Human Rights First, Mike has demonstrated a principled pragmatism focused relentlessly on getting results. Whether he is advancing legal protections for persecuted refugees, helping to build a system of monitoring and accountability of private corporations who violate the rights of their workers, creating structures to prevent antisemitic and other hate crimes, or ensuring that human rights defenders on the frontlines have a safe space in which to do their work, Mike has been an innovative leader," Massimino noted. "The Obama Administration will benefit greatly from Mike's ability to find workable solutions to human rights challenges and make progress in seemingly intractable situations."

Massimino concluded, "Mike is the ideal choice to lead the human rights bureau. He has a long track record of working in a bipartisan way with Republican and Democratic administrations and with Members of Congress from both parties. In an area where there is often more heat than light, Mike has been a beacon of reason and unwavering principle. I can't think of anyone better suited to take on this challenge at such an important moment-when the need to rebuild U.S. moral authority on human rights is so pressing-than Mike Posner."

William D. Zabel, Chair of Human Rights First's Board of Directors, echoed Massimino's praise, adding, "Intelligent, principled and results-oriented leadership has been the hallmark of Michael Posner's remarkable career. Even in the bleakest circumstances, he has courageously exposed dehumanizing forces and worked to extend the freedoms of speech, religion, and political expression to thousands of individuals around the world. The Obama Administration is wise to choose this highly-principled, determined, pragmatic and talented man to serve on its team."



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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

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